Diversions

Within the State: Escape Before Midterms in Newberry

By Lilly McKinney

A quick weekend day trip is the perfect way to recharge before midterms begin. Newberry, S.C., is a small, historic town located a little more than an hour from Greenville. With a variety of local shops and restaurants, Newberry also boasts some great attractions for all interests.

The Newberry Opera House hosts a variety of performances and is considered the “Entertainment Center of the Midlands.” Photo courtesy of Pete Zarria

The Newberry Opera House hosts a variety of performances and is considered the “Entertainment Center of the Midlands.”
Photo courtesy of Pete Zarria

The Newberry Opera House was originally constructed in 1881 and quickly became the “Entertainment Center of the Midlands.” It was home to theater and musical performances, lectures, commencement ceremonies, community events, and the like. From the mid-1920s until 1952, the opera house operated as a movie theater. Remodeled in 1996, Newberry Opera House now hosts multiple performances each year from small town performers to big name artists. Ticket prices vary.

Carter and Holmes is a nationally known orchid supplier located just outside of Newberry. Its 18 greenhouses are open to the public and include many gorgeous and unusual varieties of orchids. The lab facilities, one of the first in the United States to clone orchids, produce orchid seedlings and clones each year. They are open free of charge from 9 to 5 Monday through Saturday. All orchids located throughout the greenhouses are available for purchase for reasonable prices and make a great gift.

Wells Japanese Garden has been a city park since 1970 and on the National Register of Historic Places since 1980. Created in 1930 by W. Fulmer Wells, the garden includes a temple, torii gate, moon bridge, and tea house. The tea house was constructed from reclaimed pieces of the Newberry Opera House before its renovation. The garden was closed temporarily during World War II due to its Japanese style but is now open to the public daily. A gift to the garden was recently made by the senior curator of the Presidential Service Museum. On Feb. 12, 2012, at 12:12 p.m., the city received a matsu tree (a variety of pine tree) to add to the garden. The senior curator was following the example of previous presidents who have planted pine trees at the Zojoji Temple in Tokyo, Japan.

Give yourself permission to take a day off to experience a small town in South Carolina. Catch a show at the Newberry Opera House, buy an orchid to brighten your dorm or apartment at Carter and Holmes, or stroll through the Wells Japanese Garden. A short vacation is key to returning to campus prepared to dive into midterms.

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